What if we Enter into a Custody Agreement and the Other Parent Doesn’t Follow it? How Do I go About Enforcing it?
For those parents who are successfully able to negotiate the terms of a parenting plan and agreement but want the agreement to be enforceable in the way that an official court custody determination would be, a consent order is also an excellent option to consider. A consent order is an order which is entered by the court, essentially formalizing an out-of-court agreement negotiated by the parties.
Typically, the process for obtaining a consent order might involve one spouse filing a “friendly” lawsuit for child custody against the other, essentially for the purpose of having both parties agreeing to come together and place the case before a judge for the sole purpose of submitting the agreement for the court’s review.
The parties then set forth the terms of their arrangement in a document that both parents sign, which will then be submitted to the court for review, approval, and signature. After the order has been signed, it officially becomes a “consent order”, and is for all intents and purposes the same in the eyes of the law as a court order entered after trial, without actually having to have the trial itself. This means that instead of having to file a contract action to enforce the agreement, one party would be able to return to court for direct enforcement of the consent order itself.
Each of these questions are important questions to ask, and ones about which the information we have provided is hopefully helpful. It must be said, however, that no information provided in any guide is a substitute for the advice of an attorney which is uniquely tailored to your personal circumstances. Before you enter into any legal agreement, you should always seek legal counsel. For peace of mind, and for ensuring that you have adequately covered all of your legal bases, doing so is well worth it.
Mindset and Method Working Together
Ultimately, regardless of the method of negotiation and resolution that you choose, the most important element to successfully crafting an agreement that works for your family is making the decision to go into the process with an open heart and an open mind. Be willing to communicate openly and to cooperate readily. It is the one single choice you can make that will have the most impact on whether your attempts to reach an agreement succeed or fail. Even more importantly, it is critical to reducing the overall stress level that your entire family feels, which is best for everyone. This may not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
Without question, divorce is an emotionally turbulent process. Most likely, there have been some harsh words and hurt feelings. That’s normal. The chances are good that difficulty working together is part of what may have caused you to decide to get a divorce in the first place. The effort to put that aside and focus on what’s best for your children can be difficult at times, but you should keep trying. From a practical perspective, what does this mean? It means:
In the end, the truth is that in many cases mindset and attitude will play a significant role in ultimately determining whether you are able to successfully negotiate and enter into a custody agreement on your own without the need for court interference. In some cases, however, as we have stated, this simply isn’t possible. The gap between what you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse want may simply be too wide to bridge effectively for any number of reasons– and that’s okay. In those instances, taking the matter to court and allowing a judge to decide those issues is typically the best path forward. Don’t be afraid to take it if you need to.
If you need to speak with an experienced child custody lawyer in Huntersville NC, contact Adkins Law to arrange a consultation.